Airport Ambassadors Play Vital Role During Busy Holiday Season

Dec 15, 2022 | Newsroom

Piedmont Triad – An Ambassador corps of 40 uniformed ambassadors plays a vital role at the Piedmont Triad International Airport during the busy holiday season.

Holiday travelers can find the ambassadors stationed at one of four information booths strategically placed around the terminal building or they can flag down one of the many Ambassadors who roam the airport terminal ready to offer assistance.

“We are proud of and grateful for our team of ambassadors.  These volunteers are an essential part of our customer service program all year round,” says the airport’s Executive Director Kevin Baker. “But our passengers really rely on our Ambassadors during the holiday season when things can get a bit hectic.”

Travelers will often ask for directions to a boarding gate, or a rental car desk or ask for recommendations on a place to eat. Sometimes passengers might need help with flight information or parking.

“Most passengers who are unfamiliar with the airport just need location information,” says Marcia Sears Regan, who has been an airport ambassador for 13 years. “In order of frequency, they ask directions to baggage claim, closest bathroom, TSA, rental cars, ground transportation, and Uber and Lyft.”

Occasionally ambassadors will get an unusual request. A passenger once asked Roger Cheney, who has been an airport ambassador for 22 years, if Cheney could drive the passenger to Charlotte. He had missed his flight.

The ambassadors are all volunteers. Many of them are retired. They all go through a training program that teaches them not only about the airport layout and operations, but also how to approach travelers who may be experiencing a flight delay or some other unexpected travel challenge.  The Airport Authority is always looking for good ambassador candidates.  You don’t have to be retired, it is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in learning about Customer Service/Public Communication and who wants to help others.

“I tell passengers that there is never a dumb question, that we are here to help. That is our job,” says Regan. “Since everything is so high tech, lots of times we are the only people who converse with a passenger. A human touch, a concerned, yet positive attitude goes a long way to help ease a nervous passenger.”

The ambassador program began at the airport in 1988 and has operated continuously for more than 30 years. Ambassadors commit to working at least 3 hours weekly and some work more than that. Many have served for several years. Some for more than two decades.

“I find it rewarding to volunteer at the airport,” says Bill Sims, who has been an airport ambassador for seven years. “I know that passengers can sense it when you are being helpful. I have received so many ‘Thank you so much’ from passengers. I always look forward to working my shift at PTI. For me, it is a most rewarding experience.”

“The people who volunteer their time at the airport are special people,” Baker says. “The Airport Authority really appreciates all that they do.

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